Canucks Army Postgame: Running The Show

Whenever the Canucks and Oilers play, Zack Kassian seems to wind up in the middle of it all. Even when he doesn’t play well, as he did tonight, he manages to get involved against the Oilers like few other teams. He “runs their show,” if you will.

Kassian himself had a game about as inoffensive as the Oilers are without Taylor Hall, but still managed to be the recipient of a questionable hit that may net Andrew Ference some time in the press box, and took the penalty that led to Derek Dorsett’s shorthanded game winning goal.

Read past the jump for a recap of Vancouver’s 3-2 win.

The Rundown

Edmonton jumped out to a good start, out-attempting Vancouver 23-17 at even strength in the first period and noticeably controlling the run of play, too. Jordan Eberle opened the scoring for the hope side as well after he took a pass from Taylor Hall and walked Luca Sbisa like an old dog, before tucking a shot past Ryan Miller.

I had to amend the joke quickly though, as shortly after Ryan Miller stopped Nail Yakupov on a breakaway, Luca Sbisa totally atoned for his mistake and evened the score at 1-1:

And the better .gif form, courtesy of the Stanchion:



The Canucks caught a break to start the second, as Taylor Hall crashed hard into the net and boards after getting tied up with Chris Tanev on a 1-on-1. Hall appeared to injure his leg, and would leave the game. He would not return.

About mid way through the second period, Zack Kassian was cutting into the Oilers zone, when Andrew Ference stepped up to deliver a high hit. He appeared to catch Kassian in the chin, knocking Kassian’s easy-to-remove helmet off, however the hit wasn’t especially late. Here’s some video of the incident:

You would expect that the Department of Player Safety will at least review the play, as Ference has a couple of suspensions for dangerous hits on his resume and was penalized for an illegal check to the head, and Kelly Hrudey seemed to think that it was a suspendable offence as well. Realistically though, whether or not Ference gets a game or two or three has no bearing on the Canucks season, so it’s really not a big deal.

The hit seemed to energize the Canucks a bit, as they began to take over the run of play shortly thereafter (although Edmonton missing their best forward may have played a role too). Surprisingly, it was the fourth line that came through with a goal, as Linden Vey fired home a rebound to give Vancouver a 2-1 lead:

The lead was short-lived, however, as David Perron beat Ryan Miller 5-hole to score his first goal of the year shortly thereafter, tying the score at 2-2 going into the second intermission.

Jordan Eberle had a fantastic chance to give Edmonton a 3-2 lead early in the 3rd period, but he was turned aside by a great blocker save by Ryan Miller. This missed chance would prove costly for the Oilers, as Derek Dorsett picked off a Ben Scrivens pass while shorthanded, and beat the goalie low to put Vancouver ahead 3-2:

This would prove to be the game winner, as Vancouver held off the Oilers’ late surge to preserve the 3-2 win.

The Numbers

chart (1)

Courtesy of

First and foremost, the most important number of the night:

The second most important number of the night: Tom Sestito had a game-high 73% Corsi. The third most important number of the night isn’t a number at all but this:

This is the biggest impact in the least ice time that Sestito has had since he played one second against the L.A. Kings that one time. He only had one shift in the third period though, so it’s looking more and more clear that Willie Desjardins doesn’t trust him.

In all seriousness though, the fourth line was quite good tonight. Linden Vey had a goal and a 69% Corsi with fairly neutral deployment, and Derek Dorsett put in some solid penalty killing work, added two points, and was also in the black for possession. Dorsett’s been off to a bit of a slow start as he’s usually a neutral possession player with tough deployments, but he played quite well tonight.

The second line also appeared to miss the play-driving presence of Alex Burrows, as they struggled to control the play for most of the evening, despite playing against Mark Arcobello’s line for the most part.

The Conclusion

Vancouver will be at home tomorrow to face the red hot Predators, who are 6-2-2 on the year. It would be a tough matchup on any night, but a 25-hour turnaround (thanks, daylight savings!) with travel somewhere in there makes it even tougher.

The rumblings out there say that Bo Horvat may make his Canucks debut tomorrow as well, so we’ll keep you up to date on that if any news breaks on that front.

  • DCR

    Kassian is a beuty! Trolling the Oilers while in the box is just priceless! And he’s seriously became Edmonton’s biggest concern, more than a famous play-off drought.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Good to hear that Horvat may be on his way up. Personally, I think that the best deployment the club can hope for (possession-wise) is:

    Sedin – H. Sedin – Vrbata

    Higgins – Bonino – Kassian

    Matthias – Richardson – Hansen

    Dorsett – Horvat – Vey

    Unless of course the (highly likely) circumstance that Horvat should prove more qualified for the 3C position than the 4C, in which case, swap his position with Richardson’s (as nature intended).

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Ference should be suspended! It may have no bearing on the Caicucks season but if Burrows goes for three, then Ference should go for three.

    It here is no suspension then there should be a spotlight put on the league office and there bias vs the Canucks! Not npby the team but by the media…..

    Think that will happen?

  • Brent

    I will be glad to see Horvat in the line up as well. But lets keep our optimism in check. He didn’t get a single point over 5 games with the Comets. I rather doubt he will light it up i the NHL right away. But I would like to be wrong.

    • Brent

      I agree with you that Horvat will not light it up right away. That is why I would send him to junior after his nine games and tell him to focus on scoring.

      For a top ten pick I want Ryan O’Reilly, not a Manny Malhotra. Both are great defensive players, just one scores as well.

      • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

        Yeah, I’d like to see Horvat head back to junior after the 9 game stint. He didn’t impress in Utica so let him develop. He’ll have had a taste of AHL and NHL hockey and have a better idea of what it takes.